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BBC’s TV production arm restructures

MUMBAI: BBC Studios, BBC’s TV production arm, has announced restructuring plans to ensure it is in the right shape for the future.

Over the past few months, considerable work has been carried out to make sure BBC Studios keeps creativity at the core while operating competitively and efficiently in the market place as the guarantee that 50% of all BBC programmes are made by BBC in-house production.

As a result of this ongoing work, BBC Studios will move further towards a flexible model, more in line with the wider industry. In some cases this may mean bringing in staff for fixed periods for specific programmes. In others, staff will be retained to work on year-round programming. This will also address downtime issues and ensure BBC Studios operates as efficiently as possible.

These proposals are part of a wider plan to make the BBC simpler, leaner and more adaptable to meet the challenges of the future – and no part of the organisation has been immune. To ensure as much as possible is spent on programmes, the BBC has already saved £1.6 billion in this charter, mostly through productivity. But more savings need to be found, and staffing – which accounts for about a quarter of the BBC’s costs – has to play its part in that, starting with the cuts to back office staff and layers of management announced last year.

One of the key priorities for BBC Studios has been to remain located across the whole of UK, so it can support the BBC in properly reflecting and representing audiences and draw on creative talent from around the country. Therefore, BBC Studios will continue to operate from seven bases, while it has also looked to protect core teams in specialist areas as this is important to the BBC.

Overall, the changes will mean the number of staff at BBC Studios is reduced by around 300. These changes will impact almost all its bases, but the biggest impact is in England. With the financial challenge the BBC is facing, restructuring would need to happen irrespective of BBC Studios becoming a commercial subsidiary next year.

BBC Studios director Mark Linsey said, “A strong, creative and competitive BBC Studios is crucial to maintaining the BBC’s role as one of the world’s great programme makers – and we are committed to delivering the best content in all our genres. These plans will ensure we can compete successfully in the future.”

If approved by the BBC Trust, BBC Studios will be put on a commercial footing so it is able to make programmes for other broadcasters as well – ensuring that BBC remains one of the great programme-makers, while BBC audiences get programmes whether they’re made in-house or by independent producers.